Download Breakdown Behaviour of Air Spark-Gaps with Non

yes no Was this document useful for you?
   Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Document related concepts

Immunity-aware programming wikipedia, lookup

Hall effect wikipedia, lookup

Electrical resistance and conductance wikipedia, lookup

National Electrical Code wikipedia, lookup

Induction heater wikipedia, lookup

Islanding wikipedia, lookup

Integrating ADC wikipedia, lookup

Three-phase electric power wikipedia, lookup

History of electric power transmission wikipedia, lookup

Electrical injury wikipedia, lookup

Electrical substation wikipedia, lookup

Current source wikipedia, lookup

Ohm's law wikipedia, lookup

Josephson voltage standard wikipedia, lookup

Resistive opto-isolator wikipedia, lookup

Electromotive force wikipedia, lookup

Opto-isolator wikipedia, lookup

Buck converter wikipedia, lookup

Surge protector wikipedia, lookup

Alternating current wikipedia, lookup

Insulator (electricity) wikipedia, lookup

Voltage regulator wikipedia, lookup

Stray voltage wikipedia, lookup

Voltage optimisation wikipedia, lookup

Mains electricity wikipedia, lookup

High voltage wikipedia, lookup

Breakdown Behaviour
of Air Spark-Gaps
with Non-Homogeneous
Field at Bias Voltages
K. Feser
CH-4000 BASEL 28
Breakdown Behaviourof Air Spark-Gaps With Non-Homogeneous
Field at Bias Voltages
K. Feser, Base1
This paper examines the breakdown behaviour of air sparkgaps with a non-homogeneous field at bias voltages (de. voltage
with superimposed impulse voltage). The results show the decisive
role played by pre-discharges in the breakdown process. Besides
the influence of dc. voltage on the 50% breakdovrn voltage, the
author also examines the influence exerted on the volt-time-curve
P by preliminary stress due to d.c. voltage. In the case of air spark-
Although information on breakdown behaviour of non-homogeneous fields such as prevailing in high voltage networks and
switching stations can be obtained only by experimental investigation, no systematic research on the strength of air at bias voltage
stresses has yet been made. Such investigations are however an essential preliminary condition for an optimum design of electric
equipment, as it is precisely at the highest working voltages that
the continuous working voltage stress may reach values of the order of overvoltage value. It is also well understandable that the behaviour of air spark-gaps is influenced by a continuous stress,
Up to date, systematic experimental research covering the behaviour in air of insulating devices at d.c. and superimposed impulse voltages has been done at voltages under 100 kV [ 1;2]*.
The present contribution investigates experimentally the behaviour of air spark-gaps with non-homogeneous field distribution at
high d.c. voltages (up to 500 kV) and superimposed high impulse
voltages (up to 2000 kVl.
gaps with large distances, bigpre-discharge currents occ~rdu&g
short disruptive periods (T&ip) before the voltage breakdown.
The space-charge applied to the gap by the predischarge current
increases with the diminution of the breakdown-time. Part of this
charge can be absorbed by a preliminary dc. voltage stress, while
the volt-time-curve itself is not intluenced by the value of d.c. voltage.
Test Circuit
The experimental investigations were done at the High Voltage Institute of the Munich Technical University [3] (fig. 1). D.c.
voltage was generated by means of a 1.4 MV d.c. system consisting
of a 1.2 MV transformer, a rectifier and a 16 nF smoothing capacitance. Measurement of the d.c. voltage was made by the intermediary of an ohmic voltage divider with an electrostatic voltmeter.
Unipolar overvoltages were produced by means of a 1Zstage
Marx-type 3 MV impulse generator. Impulse voltage was measured
directly on the spark-gap by means of a damped capacitive voltage
divider [4] with an impulse peak voltmeter.
generator device
m e a s u r i n g Icoupling
d. c generato,
Fig. 2
Basic diagram of a combined d.c. and impulse voltage stress
Ck 48 nF coupling capacitor Ct 291 pF divider capacitance
Rk 4 MO coupling resistance Rt 758 n divider resistance
Fig. I
Bias test system with 3 MV impulse voltage generator
and 1.4 MV d.c. generator
*cf. literature index at the end
The basic diagram of the whole test circuit is shown in fig.2.
Both voltage generating systems are uncoupled by means of appropriate coupling devices which have to warrant a reaction-free
superposition of the two voltages. With other words, while no resistance is shown to their own circuit, they must oppose an infinitely
high resistance to the adjoining circuit.
A 48 nF capacitor was used as a coupler between the impulse
generator and the object under test, this capacitor being at the
same time an additional smoothing capacitance of the d.c. system.
Coupling of d.c. voltage was achieved by means of a 4MS2
water resistance. This arrangement made it possible to superimpose any desired d.c. voltage amplitude and polarity on any desired impulse voltage.
All measurements were done on vertically mounted spark-gaps
earthed at one pole. Investigations covered not only the rod-plane
2. Quadrant
negative dr. voltage
positive impulse voltage
3. Quadrant
negative d.c. voltage
negative impulse voltage
I. Quadrant
positive d.c. voltage
positive impulse voltage
4. Quadrant
positive d.c.voltage
negative impulse voltage
Fig. 3
Schematic repartition of curves with hvo superimposed voltages
f time;o voltage
spark-gap, where pre-discharges are limited to one electrode, but
also the rod-rod spark-gap.
A 2 x 2 mz aluminium plate was used in the rod-plane spark-gap
arrangement. The rod electrode consisted of a brass tube having a
diameter of 20 mm.
In the rod-rod spark-gap arrangement, the rod electrode to
earth was 2 m high, its diameter being equally 20 mm. The brass
tubes could be terminated by various electrode heads (2 cm-hemi-
Breakdown voltages ud of a test arrangement can be well represented by means of four quadrants (fig. 3). Breakdown voltage
ud corresponds in this case to the sum, with proper plus/minus
signs, of d.c. voltage LJgl and of the 50% value of impulse voltage
r/d 50%. The four possible combinations of bias voltages can thus
be featured as follows:
Quadrant 1: positive d.c. voltage with positive impulse voltage
Quadrant 2: negative d.c. voltage with positive impulse voltage
Quadrant 3: negative d.c. voltage with negative impulse voltage
Quadrant 4: positive d.c. voltage with negative impulse voltage.
Fig.3 also shows the basic voltage shape in each of the four
Test Results
Influence of dc. voltage value on the
Fig. 4 shows the breakdown, voltage in function of the d.c. voltage, with a 25 cm spacing between the rod-plane spark-gap having
a 2 cm hemispheric terminal electrode. The figure shows that the
parallels to the abscisses mean that the breakdown voltage does
not depend on the d.c. voltage value. The voltage value from the interrupted 45”-line on and up to the positive breakdown line represents the share of the positive 50% breakdown voltage. A corresponding value from the 45”“line down to the negative breakdown
line results for the negative polarity. According to fig. 4, a positive
345 kV impulse voltage is necessary for a negative - 200 kV d.c.
voltage, in order to reach the positive breakdown line. A negative
breakdown calls for a negative - 180 kV impulse voltage. This illustration clearly shows the influence of d.c. voltage on breakdown
Fig. 4
Breakdown voltage of a rod-plane spark-gap with
superimposed d.c. and 1.2.150 impulse voltage
cpa = 7 g/m’; electrode head: 2 cm hemisphere
Ud breakdown voltage: Ugl d.c. voltage
sphere, 30”-pointed, obtuse) [.5].
Test Procedure
An impulse voltage is superimposed on a d.c. voltage having a
determined value and polarity, the amplitude of this impulse voltage being modified in such a way that breakdown probability can be
measured between O...lOO%. The distribution curve obtained is set
up by means of at least 140 voltage impulses; %-values under 20%
and over 80% of breakdown probability are determined, for statistical reasons, with the double number of voltage stresses [6]. If the
breakdown process is influenced only by one significant parameter, the breakdown probability can be estimated with the aid of a
normal distribution. In such cases, a measurement is clearly defined
by the value of a 50%-breakdown-voltage and the standard deviation. Under particular conditions, breakdown process is influenced
by several parameters and the observed mixed distribution can be
split up, according to statistical laws, in two or more normal distributions. The physical reason of the mixed distribution is the change
in predischarges which, in case of spark-gaps with non-homogeneous fields, has an essential influence on the breakdown process
; 81.
Correction of air density for the measured voltage values is
made according to [9]. Correction of humidity is not done.
negative wTm
Fig. 4 also shows that pre-stressing the spark-gap with a negative d.c. voltage leads to a slight voltage jump when streamer-corona starts; this voltage jump becomes a voltage drop of about 12 kV
in case of positive impulse voltage, while it results in a voltage increase of about 22 kV in case of negative voltages. A negative d.c. voltage breakdown results in a lower breakdown voltage.
Much more remarkable is the behaviour of this arrangement
with positive d.c. voltage. D.c. voltage breakdown follows out of
the glow-corona under the given ambient conditions. Fig. 4 shows
that a voltage rise corresponds to glow-corona at both polarities of
impulse voltage. Breakdown voltage is independent of d.c. voltage
value up to the point when glow-corona starts.
If one considers the probability of breakdown in function of the
breakdown voltage when a positive + 115 kV d.c. voltage is superimposed to a negative impulse voltage, two significant influencing
parameters appear very clearly (fig. 5).
voltage strength of 4.6 kV/cm for the steamer-corona can be expected. The impulse voltage amplitude is not a determining factor
for the disruption of the glow-corona (fig. 5).
These results have been confirmed by measurements made by
/aumann [ 111, Toepler [ 121 Deotsch [ 131 and Rasquin [ 11, who have
also found, in the glow-corona range, a high sensitivity of d.c. voltage strength to a superimposed impulse voltage.
If spacings are larger, d.c. voltage breakdown on the 2 cm hemispheric electrode at positive polarity originates from the streamercorona, and at negative polarity also from streamer-corona. Fig. 6
shows that in case of negative pre-stress, value of d.c. voltage has
practically no influence on breakdown voltage. The total breakdown voltage value is more or less constant at both impulse voltage polarities. If a 30” electrode spike is used, no influence can be
seen on the positive breakdown characteristic, as breakdown originates from the streamer-corona. The third quadrant illustrates
very distinctly an influence on breakdown voltage
due to modification of the pre-discharge on the 30”
spike. Breakdown voltage decreases about 20% up
to the pre-discharge alteration and increases again
when streamer-corona appears; it approaches the
breakdown voltage values when a 2 cm hemisphere
is used as an electrode head. Use of the latter electrode did not lead to any impulseless negative predischarge in the investigated range.
A slight decrease of breakdown voltage as from
the value of the onset-voltage can be observed in
case of superimposed positive voltages (first quadrant). D.c.. voltage breakdown shows the lowest
breakdown voltage value.
If a negative lightning impulse voltage is superimposed on a positive d.c. voltage, an important drop
of breakdown voltage value occurs from a certain
Fig. 5
Breakdown probability of a 25 cm rod-plane spark-gap with a
+ 115 kV positive pre-stress
Ust imtwlse voltage w breakdown trobabilitv
ust -
An average breakdown probability of 35% was found for an
impulse voltage range of about 15 kV to about 440 kV. This range,
where the mixed distribution was measured, is shown by the
hatched zone in fig.4. When d.c. voltage is increased up to
+ 135 kV, breakdown probability rises to about 90%, while the
range of the transition zone remains unchanged. In this d.c. voltage
range (ugl > 105 kV), even a small positive impulse will lead to a
breakdown of the spark-gap.
This enormous dispersion can be physically explained by the
breakdown due to glow-corona. A time to breakdown of some
100 us occur in case of glow-corona breakdown, and can be explained by the duration period of positive ions [lo]. The superimposed
impulse voltage brings the negative space-charge on the positive
electrode out of balance and the resulting streamer-corona leads to
breakdown. This becomes possible as soon as the voltage reaches a
value of over + 115 kV, as, under these conditions, (cp a = 7g/m3), a
d.c. voltage value on, when a 30” pointed electrode is used. The
spark-gap is solicitated with a positive d.c. voltage which is entirely
compensated by a negative impulse voltage. With a corresponding
amplitude of negative impulse voltage (Ust> ugl), the spark-gap is,
for a short while (some 10 us), under solicitation of a negative voltage, which does not yet lead to a breakdown with this spacing.Together with d.c. voltage, the then again decreasing 1.2150 impulse
voltage forms a positive switching impulse voltage, its amplitude
being given by the d.c. voltage value. The front duration of
the switching impulse voltage is given by the wave shape of the
lightning impulse voltage tail, while the tail duration of the
switching impulse voltage remains infinite. This so originated
switching impulse voltage leads to an important decrease of
breakdown voltage value. This voltage drop occurs particularly at
big spacings [51, as, under such circumstances and due to the leader
discharge, the positive switching voltage shows a lower strength
0 I
Fig. b
Breakdown voltage of a rod-plane spark-gap with superimposed d.c.
and 1.2150 impulse voltage
For a positive d.c. breakdown voltage, breakdown time values lie between several 100 and
rpa = &..I I g/m’; parameter: electrode head
cf. Fig. 4 for other indications
-t3 +lOO
2 cm hemisphere
Fig. 7 shows the influence of d.c. voltage value on
breakdown voltage in the case of a rod-rod sparkgap and this influence is clearly noticeable from the
beginning of the onset-voltage on. When predischarges appear, an important voltage drop can be
observed in the case of negative d.c. voltage and due
to streamer-corona generated on the earthed side.
Further voltage drop up to the value of the negative
d.c. voltage breakdown follows only when d.c. voltage value increases to at least 90% of d.c. break- ~
down voltage.
Breakdown voltage value also marks a drop in
quadrant 2, when onset-voltage value is exceeded. In
case of further increase of d.c. voltage, breakdown
voltage augments slightly. An important solicitation
drop in the breakdown range due to streamer-core
na occurs only shortly before a negative d.c. breakdown voltage. The reason for this low breakdown
voltage is to be found in the art of the ambient spacecharge. In case of d.c. voltage, this charge is built up
under favourable conditions and attains an optimum
value after a certain time period. The ambient space
charge is destroyed by the superimposed impulse
voltage and a breakdown is thus initiated when vol-
tage (switching voltage) is applied once more. Breakdown time in
such a case has values of several 100 us.
than d.c. voltage. This switching voltage can be determined by
measuring the breakdown duration value of several 100 us. According to [14], such a voltage characteristic may occur during the reversal of rectifier units of a high voltage d.c. transmission system,
so that these results are of practical importance.
A spacing of 50 cm gives a value of less than 3% for the standard deviation of breakdown voltage ud at positive polarity of the
impulse voltage. Stray values up to 8% have been found for negative rod-plane spark-gaps [5].
Breakdown time gives an insight into the physical behaviour
and allows physical understanding of a determined abnormal comportment. At both impulse voltage polarities, mean breakdown duration values of about 10 us for 50% breakdown impulse voltages
of a 50 cm rod-plane spark-gap remain practically independent of
the value and polarity of the d.c. voltage, in case of positive impulse
voltage; they are of about 5 us in case of negative impulse voltage.
Same as in the case of breakdown characteristics, no determining
influence of d.c. voltage value is noticeable in the case of breakdown time [5]. One exception is that of switching voltage solicitation with positive d.c. voltage and superimposed negative 1.2150
impulse voltage. At 235 kV d.c. voltage, an average
value of breakdown time
is obtained for the negative breakdown impulse
When positive voltages are superimposed, breakdown voltage
decreases from the moment onset-voltage is applied, while no influence of breakdown voltage due to d.c. voltage value is noticeable in case positive d.c. voltage and negative impulse voltage are
superimposed. Different spacings (a = 75 cm, a = 100 cm) lead in
principle to identical results [5].
Influence ofpre-discharge
Modification of the form of electrode with a constant spacing
(a = 25 cm) of a rod-plane spark-gap demonstrates the importance
of pre-discharge on the breakdown process (fig. 8). A 2 cm hemisphere, a 30” pointed and an obtuse electrode were used as electrode heads. Initiating ranges of possible pre-discharges at d.c. voltage are very distinct.
Variation of pre-discharge can be observed on a 30” spike with
negative d.c. voltage. A streamer-corona takes place instead of an
impulseless discharge. In case of positive d.c. voltage, there is only
a streamer-corona with such an electrode head. In accordance with
this pre-discharge behaviour in the case of a 30” spike, this predischarge variation can be ascertained by the breakdown voltage.
As long as there is a negative glow, breakdown voltage decreases,
while in the other quadrants the process is determined by stream-
Fig. 7
Breakdown voltage of a rod-rod spark-gap
with superimposed d.c. and 1.2.150 impulse
‘pa = 7-9 g/m”: electrode head: 2 cm hemisphere
cf. fig.4 for other indications
-100 f---t
- -200
- -300
- -4oo-
er-corona, which leads to a slight decrease of breakdown voltage
as soon as onset-voltage is applied. An obtuse electrode head
brings, at negative impulse voltages and small spacings (a<50 cm)
a very clearly defined transition range [.5]. The positive d.c. voltage
breakdown is due with this electrode form to glow-corona and this
voltage drop is again noticeable in the d.c. voltage range. Due to
the fact that a glow-corona is more stable, the impulse voltage amplitude necessary to destroy the glow-corona is higher. Quadrant 4
shows that breakdown voltage decrease is due to the generated
switching impulse voltage, a fact confirmed by breakdown time
values of several 100 us.
In case of negative rod-plane spark-gaps with 1.2150 impulse
voltage solicitation, one can observe a transition range, the physical origin of which is due to a pre-discharge formation on the obtuse electrode [5]. This transition range is confirmed by d.c. voltage
with superimposed impulse voltage. The glow-corona is destroyed
in case of positive d.c. voltage from about 125 kV upwards, so that
lower breakdown voltages occur, while in case of superimposed
negative voltages, a negative voltage forms a diffuse glowstreamer-corona.
Fig. 8
Breakdown voltage of a 25 cm rod-plane spark-gap with superimoosed
impulse voltage
‘pa = 7-l 1 g/m”; parameter: electrode head
a electrode head: 2 cm hemisphere ( x) 30”.pointed (.)
b electrode head: obtuse
cf. fig.4 for other indications
d.c. and 1.2150
U’ I
Fig. 9
Breakdown voltage of a rod-plane spark-gap
with superimposed d.c. and 601525 impulse
V z lo...1 I g/m”; electrode head: 2 cm hemi
cf. fig.4 for other indications
The influence of various pre-discharges is even more evident if
the three different electrode forms are compared. In case of identical pre-discharge behaviour, breakdown voltages are comparable.
Influence of the impulse shape of the
impulse voltage
Electric sub-stations may have to cope with 1.2150 lightning impulse voltages as well as with overvoltages having front wave duration values of 50...200 us. These so-called switching impulse voltages result in a minimum value of breakdown voltage.
----+ 6
Fig. 1 I
Breakdown voltage of a rod-rod spark-gap
with superimposed d.c. and 601525
au * 7...10 g/m‘; e l e c t r o d e h e a d : 2 hemisphere
cf. fig.4 for other indications
Pre-discharge due to d.c. voltage leads to a voltage drop in case
of positive impulse voltages.
Pig. 10
Breakdown voltage of a rod-plane spark-gap with superimposed d.c. and 601525 impulse voltage
= 7-l I g/m’; parameter: electrode spacing
cf. fig. 4 for other indications
A characteristic transition range [8] results, with 601525 posi
tive polarity switching impulse voltage; in case of a rod-plane sparkgap with a 2 cm hemispheric electrode head and having a spacing
of up to 1 m. A breakdown due not only to streamer-corona but
also to the leader corona is possible. This leader corona is responsible for the low strength of air spark-gaps in case of switching im.
pulse voltages. By superimposing a d.c. voltage, and from the moment onset-voltage is applied, only the leader corona occurs, thus
explaining in fig. 9 the lower strength of the mixed distribution with
the superimposed circuit. This is physically understandable, as the
streamer-corona due to d.c. voltage is already the origin of the lea,
der corona, for which the ionisation conditions are favourable.
at about 75 kV corresponds to lower strength at
switching impulse voltages (fig. 11).
With negative polarity, the cause of mixed distribution is the excess of onset-voltage value on the
earthed electrode. With d.c. voltage pre-stress
conditions, the electrode arrangement always exceeds the onset-voltage on the anode, creating thus
definite pre-discharge conditions for a breakdown
process. If d.c. voltage continues to increase,
breakdown voltage decreases more or less linearly
(fig. 11).
Influence of dc. voltage value on the volt-timecurve.
Faultless coordination of insulation is dependent not only on the O...lOO% breakdown probability
distribution curve in function of breakdown voltage, but equally on the behaviour of insulating arrangements at overshooting impulse voltages. Relationship between breakdown impulse voltage
and breakdown time is illustrated by volt-timecurves (cfi15] for definition). Influence of dc. voltage on volt-time-curve of air spark-gaps with nonhomogeneous field and with large sparkover distances will be investigated in the following paragraph.
Characteristic values
- _ _ _ _ _ --U--- _
lJ 50
1 cm
- --- - - - -‘T
A 1.2150 lightning impulse voltage is superimposed to a definite d.c. voltage in the previously described test arrangement. It
appears that an important
of spark-gaps with non-homogeneous field in the
scope of the volt-timecurve. This leads to considerable difficulties in the
evaluation of test results, as the form of voltage is influenced by
the pre-discharge current owing to voltage drop on the source
Fig. 12 illustrates the characteristic values which enable an interpretation of the test results. This figure shows that to define
clearly the experiment, it is necessary to consider not only the
breakdown voltage ud and breakdown time Td, which form together the volt-time-curve, but also the original voltage LJ, as well as
the charge Q = Iidt brought into the spark-gap by pre-discharge.
The source impedance is responsible for a.certain voltage progress
on the test object; this progress diverges from the ideal original
voltage, i.e. voltage without test object, by several 100 kV, owing to
a pre-discharge current of several 100 A.
Oscillograms thus allowed to evaluate breakdown voltage,
breakdown time and original voltage at the moment of breakdown,
and this by means of a standard normalized oscillogram. The
moment of breakdown was chosen to be the moment of sudden
voltage collapse, as shown in photogram (fig. 12), which illustrates
that at this precise moment, the sparkover spacing is bridged by a
conductive channel. Moreover, the current rises at this moment to
Fig. 12
Voltage and Current CUW, a~ well a~ discharge pt~~tomena of 100 cm rod-plane spark-gap in the range ofvoft.time.curve
Evaluation of stress characteristic values
a sparkover spacing; Td breakdown Ud breakdown voltage;
CJo original voltage:u volta&: vspeed
Fig. 10 shows that in case of larger sparkover spacmgs, d.c. voltage improves the field conditions so that spark-gap strength increases.
No noticeable influence is to be expected with negative polarity of the high voltage electrode as, for larger spacings (a > 50 cm),
the voltagelsparkover distance curves also show no marked influence resulting from the voltage shape. Up to 400 kV, no influence
of d.c. voltage value has been observed (fig.9) and d.c. voltage
breakdown is some 17% lower.
Rod-rod spark-gaps show clearly defined transition ranges at
the investigated sparkover spacing of 50 cm [8]. Clearly defined
pre-discharge conditions arise in the gas space, due to pre-stressing
with d.c. voltage. Mixed distribution in breakdown probability, depending on breakdown voltage at switching voltages, is supplanted
by a normal distribution when voltages are superimposed. If the
high voltage electrode has a positive polarity, a streamer-corona is
initiated with d.c. voltage pre-stressing as soon as onset-voltage is
exceeded. Favourable conditions are then created for the leader
corona, which always initiates breakdown. This is the reason why a
breakdown voltage with positive d.c. voltage pre-stress beginning
a short-circuit current value. The current process made it possible
to integrate the charge.
The shifting of the zero time spot makes it difficult to evaluate
the breakdown time [16]. This is why the characteristic oscillation
in the impulse voltage front was used to calibrate the zero time
spot. All time values were evaluated from this oscillation and converted to the zero time spot by adding a constant amount. Each
point of the volt-time-curve was determined by statistical methods
out of at least 10 voltage applications.
Inf7uence of&. voltage on the
Fig. 13 shows the volt-time-curve, the original voltage curve
and the space charge curve of a 1OOcm rod-plane spark-gap at
positive lightning impulse voltage, in function of breakdown times.
A drop of orginal voltage curve occurs at breakdown times under
6 us, owing to pre-discharge current, so that there is divergence
between original and breakdown voltages. Fig. 13 also clearly
shows that the charge necessary for the progress and heating-up of
the breakdown channel increases considerably with shorter
breakdown-times. This is so more understandable that several
channels are formed simultaneously. A pre-current charge of some
1600 ,
650 uC can be obtained with a 2 ps breakdown time, the breakdown voltage having a value of about 940 kV.
Pre-discharge currents of several 100 A were also observed on
air spark-gaps solicited by steep 0.03143 us impulse voltages [17]. In
such a case too, a pre-current charge of several 100 uC has to be
brought into the spark-gap.
If a spark-gap is pre-stressed by a d.c. voltage with a superimposed lightning impulse voltage, it appears, as shown in fig. 14, that
the breakdown voltage of this 100 cm rod-plane spark-gap is practically not influenced by the d.c. voltage pre-solicitation, even
though considerable pre-discharges (streamer-corona) occur already with 400 kV d.c. voltage. On the other hand (fig. 15), both the
original voltage curve and the charge characteristic are actually
influenced. A 400 kV d.c. voltage covers already a certain charge
requirement. This dependence also indicates that the breakdown
of a spark-gap with a non-homogeneous field necessitates a certain
charge. Influence of pre-stress on breakdown voltage can only be
expected if the impulse shape modification of impulse voltage, due
to voltage drop on the source impedance, influences the breakdown process; it is, of course, well known that under certain circumstances, voltage shape has an influence on breakdown voltage
7 NS
\ I
Fig. 13
~rn~ulse, original voltage and charge
characteristic curves of a positive
loo cm rod-plane spark-gap in function
of breakdown time
a impulse and original voltage curws; b
charge curve; Q charge; U. original vol.
tage:Ud breakdown voltage; T, breakdown time
In the case of the 100 cm rod-rod spark-gap too,
and at both impulse voltage polarities, there is only
a slight influence of d.c. voltage value on breakdown voltage (fig. 16 a and b). A negligible decrease in strength at increasing d.c. voltage is due
to symmetry conditions of the spark-gap owing to
pre-discharges at d.c. voltage. As is well known, a
rod-rod spark-gap with d.c. voltage at both polarities has nearly the same breakdown voltage as a
positive rod-plane spark-gap.
Fig. 17 shows the influence of d.c. voltage value
on the volt-time-curve for a negative rod-plane
spark-gap. In this case too, breakdown voltage is
hardly influenced by pre-solicitation, while the
original voltage-curve is once again influenced, the
pre-current charge for this spark-gap consisting
again of several 100 PC. Part of this charge can be
due to d.c. voltage.
Charge requirement at breakdown of a rod-rod
spark-gap with constant sparkover spacing is
about half as large as in case of a rod-plane sparkgap (fig. 18). Influence of polarity is not noticeable
for either of the spark-gap types.
Practical Conclusions
To obtain evidence of its impulse voltage
strength, electric apparatus has to be subjected to
an ordinary impulse voltage test. Measurements
show that in case of air spark-gaps, this strength
can be influenced by d.c. voltage pre-stress. Owing
to the fact that in case of normal operational conditions, overvoltage is always superimposed to d.c.
voltage, it should be investigated to what extent a
normal impulse voltage test does correctly establish the characteristics of an insulating device. It
appears that breakdown voltage of air spark-gaps
with non-homogeneous field can be considerably
influenced if glow-corona builds up due to d.c. vol-
tage. Breakdown voltage is however not modified m an important
manner in case of streamer-corona.
A reliable design of electric devices and plant components requires an evaluation and knowledge of the electric strength of all
insulating devices in relation to any possible voltage stresses. Oilimmersed insulating gaps are noticeably influenced by pre-solicitation, in case of bias voltage stresses [19]. It can thus result that an
insulating device will easily withstand a normal impulse voltage
test. Nevertheless, and under operational conditions, a slight overload can lead to a breakdown. As an example, in a protective spark.
gap on a transformer, the breakdown voltage of the inner insulation, i.e. oil, can be, owing to pre-stress, lower than the breakdown
value of the level spark-gap [ 191.
Obtained results also show that an air spark-gap with non-homogeneous field can cause an effective voltage decrease. As precurrents increase considerably at shorter breakdown times, a level
spark-gap will cause, particularly at steep voltage stresses such as
close lightning strokes, a voltage drop of the generated overvoltage on the apparatus to be protected [17].
Investigation and tests on air insulated spark-gaps with nonhomogeneous field are conditioned by the fact that the source impedance can influence the breakdown voltage owing to the precurrent charge of several [email protected]/m, necessary to obtain break-
down. It is also necessary to pay attention to the influence on the
breakdown process of the modification of voltage shape on . he test
object, due to pre-discharge current.
The following summary can be stated as regards superposition
of d.c. voltage on single polarity overvoltages:
I. A glow-corona built-up by d.c. voltage is destroyed by a superimposed impulse voltage. If the value of d.c. voltage is sufficiently
high to provoke a streamer-breakdown (5 kV/cm at normal conditions), a breakdown follows after an impulse-shaped voltage stress,
the value of impulse voltage not being decisive for the breakdown
process. Measured breakdown times of several 100 us indicate that
breakdown is originated by positive ions.
2. In case of streamer-corona in a rod-plane spark-gap, influence of pre-stress on breakdown voltage can be neglected. A voltage decrease is noticeable in a rod-rod spark-gap as soon as onsetvoltage is on.
3. No influence of electrode shape on breakdown voltage can
be observed under identical pre-discharge conditions.
4. In case of d.c. voltage pre-stress and at
determinded pre-discharge conditions, there occurs no mixed distribution in the breakdown probability in function of breakdown voltage.
Fig. 14
Influence of d.c. voltage value on the volt-time-curve of a positive
100 cm rod-plane spark-gap
kV d.c. voltage
0 117,5
kV d.c. voltage
D 210
kV d.c. voltage
kV d.c. voltage
x 330
+ 440
kV d.c. voltage
cf. fig. 13 for other indications
1600 '
Fig. 15
Influence of d.c. voltage value on the original voltage-curve of
the positive 100 cm rod-r&me spark-gap
u,for.- t/g=400
cf. fig. 12 for other indications
1 LOO-
Final Remark
The above-mentioned study has been made at the High Voltage
and Engineering Institute of the Munich Technical University. The
author wishes to express his thanks to the German Research Association for their generous assistance.
a II
Fig. 18
Charge characteristics in function of breakdown time
Parameter: circuit arrangement
cf. fig. 13 for other indications
Fig. 16
Influence of d.c. voltage value on the volt-time-curve of 100 cm rod-rod spark-gaps
a positive voltage
x Ug, = 274 kV
+ Ug, = 396 kV
o f/g,-138kV
b negative voltage
cf. fig. 13 for other indications
5. The volt-time curve will practically not be influenced by a
d.c. voltage pre-solicitation, even though pre-current charges of
several lOOuC/m have to be applied to the spark-gap before
breakdown. On the other hand, there is considerable influence
exerted on the original voltage.
Fig. 17
Influence of d.c. voltage on the volttime-curve of a negative 50 cm rodplane spark gap
cf. fig. 13 for other indications
w Rasquin: Der Einfluss sprunghafter SpannungsBn+ PrllnnPn n,,~rl.,r nl.rrl.crl3l.3n
verhalten van Luft bei Elektrodenanordnungen mil
ET&A 88(1967)3, S. 74-79
W. Rasquin: Einfluss van Vorbeanspruchungen auf die Durchschlag-stossspannungen van Elektroden-Anordnungen in Luft. ETZ-A 90(1969)17, S. 415..420.
H. Prjnz: Few<, Blitz und Funke. Miinchen, Bruckmann, 1965.
W. Zaenal, Em neuer Teiler filr steile Stossspannunaen.
Bull. SEV 56f196537.
S. 232-243.
K. Feser: Inhomogene Luftfunkenstrecken bei verschiedener Spannungsbeansprw
chung. Dissertation,Technische Hochschule, Miinchen 1970.
7: Suzuki an.: Parallel multigap flashover probability. Trans. IEEE PAS 88(1969)12,
p. 1814...18?3
K. Feser: Uber das Durchschlagverhalten der negativen StabStabFunkenstrecke
mit Stossstwmuneen 1.2/50. ETZ-A 91f197016. S.321...325
K. Feser: inhomogene’Funkenstrecken in Lift bei Beanspruchung mit Schaltstossspannungen. Bull. SEV61(1970)16,S.
71 I-719.
Erzeugung und Messung van Hochspannungen. Teil I: Bestimmungen fib die Erzeugung und Anwendung van Wechsel- und Gleichspannungen fiir Priifzwecke. VDE
Vorschrift 0433 Teil l/1.66
K. Fesec uber den Gleichspannungsdurchchlag inhomogener Luftfunkenstrecken
grosser Schlagweite. Ztschr. Angewandte Physik 29(1970)1, S. 56...60.
G. /aumann; Einfluss rascher Potential%nderungen auf den Entladungsvorgang. Sitzungsberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch-natunvissenschaftliche Classe, Abtheilung IIa 97(1888>, S. 765...805.
M. ToepIer: Grenzspannungen und Funkenspannungen bei symmetrischer Versuchsanordnung fiir Gleichspannung und fiir kurzdauernde Spannungsstijsse mit
vollbekanntem zeitlichen Verlaufe. Arch. Elektrotechn. 17(19’26)4, S. 389-412.
u! Deotsch: uber den Einfluss hochfrequenter Schwingungen
auf die positive Spitzenentladung. Annalen da Physik 5/26(1936)3, S. 193..218.
/. Ho/t<; Digitalrechnerprogramm zur Nachbildung einer Hochspannungs-Gleichstrom-Ubertra ung. ETZ-A 90(1969)9, S. 195...199.
Erzeugung un f Messung van Hochspannungen. Teil3: Bestimmungen fiir die Erzeugung und Anwendung van Stossspannungen und StossstrBmen fib Priifzwecke.
VDE Vorschrift 0433 Teil3/4.66.
F. Heiibronner und M.G. Kratzenstein: Zur Definition der Stosskennlinie bei
Durchschllgen in der Stirn der Stossspannungen. ETZ-A 90(1969)23, S. 607...609.
J Wiesinger: Funkenstrecken unter Steilstossspannungen und ihre Bedeutung fiir
die lsolatlonskoordination. Bull. SEV 60(1969)15, S. 672...682.
J Wiesinger: Funkenstrecken unter Blitz- und Schaltstossspannungen. ETZ-A
K. Feser und M G. Kratzenstein: Das Durchschlagverhalten einer StabStabFunkenstrecke in Isolier61 bei Mischspannungen. ETZ-A 90(1969)24, S. 623-628.
Address of the author:
Dr.-Ing. K. Feser, Emil Haefely & Co, Ltd., P.O. Box, 4052 Bale 28.